Best laid plans…

Week 1 of 21.

To paraphrase Robert Burns, “The best-laid plans of mice and men oft go awry”.

I use Training Peaks to organise and plan my training. One of the advantages of this is that I can put the sessions in and then drag them around to make sure they fit in with the week I have planned. So If I have a Thursday night cycle planned but have to organise the race (like this week), I can move it to a Friday instead and see if it still fits in. I can see what I must do for the week in advance and get an idea of the levels of training I have planned.

This week – looked like this on Wednesday when I did the screenshot.
Planned sessions then turn green as they are completed (red if they aren’t) and if I miss a day I can decide if I just carry on or move sessions.

On the above, I had missed a day (Tue). This was just an easy bike session so it was moved to the next day. I think for the easy sessions moving a session is fine. For the hard sessions, you need to be prepared to let them go and just miss them. As it ended up I should have just let that session go too.

The other thing I like about training peaks is that it allows me to see the loads I am putting on myself, fatigue levels and when to back off. That way I should be able to plan it that I peak for a race.

So on to week 1 of training…

Start Weight: 115kg
Current Weight (BF%): 114.6kg (32)
Weight lost: 0.4kg

To be fair it’s the first week and 1 day since my original weigh in, so I shouldn’t have lost weight as I’m only starting. Target is 99kg so roughly 0.75kg per week. Hopefully, these weekly weigh-ins and the thought of having to write it down on this blog will keep me honest.


It was the bank holiday and I had planned a ride with the club up to Blessington and back. Sunday was a scorcher and I was expecting more of the same on Monday. It wasn’t quite the same but still warm enough for short sleeves. The good thing about the Blessington route is that all the climbing is in the first half and you have a great descent then back down to Lucan before a slight drag back up Laraghcon to the Maxol where we had met. All in all a nice 80+km in the training bank.

The evening was the usual Tritanium Run Club session, a nice easy 5km run for me and Daire to ease into the week. The faster group got 6.5 km in – it felt tough enough though after the earlier cycle but was good to get it done.


I was up early to head to Cavan for work. I was back in the office just after lunch but ended up working late to make up for the time I was in Cavan (not sure how that worked) plus the rest of my team had all gone home early with various excuses. By the time I got home and ate dinner I had meetings to prepare for the next day so unfortunately had to push training back to the Wednesday.

In the end, this didn’t get done so first session of the week missed – 40 min bike session focusing on technique.


Early meeting in town so I didn’t have time for the planned pre-work gym session.

Evening time was Ger’s run session in the National Indoor Arena. The main session was a warm up the 5 sets of 300m fast with 100m recovery then 500m with 100m recovery.  Before the main session, Ger decided to throw in some bodyweight squats and lunges, made the main set slightly more challenging running on tired legs.

As soon as the running session was done I headed down the road to the gym. Around 60 mins of weights to round off the evening.


Early morning gym session missed, after 2 early starts and then a late gym session I felt I needed the rest.

The evening was spent organising a club league cycling race. Nearly 10 pm by the time I got home so any hope of getting a cycle turbo session was gone and also the recovery run afterwards.

I was starting to ache from the squats and lunges we had done the day before too. Not a good day.


Another morning session missed – this was a swim.

The evening session was a long slow run. These are still short enough at the moment at 1: 15. Didn’t get home from work till late so met the club runners coming up the hill to Tyrrelstown and ran 6km or so with them before turning off for a slightly longer loop home.



Started the day with Parkrun. When I decided to do these regularly it was with a plan in mind to just do 1 week in 4 as a serious run/season’s best (SB) attempt, and the other 3 weeks as an effort just below the current SB. It hasn’t worked out like that…

I met Eoin before the race and had a quick chat – both of us were feeling tired after the Friday night long run, we couldn’t be bothered warming up, and neither of us were thinking of going for a fast time. My comments were something along the lines of taking it “easy to the bottom turn and then see how I feel”.

We set off in the middle of the runners, so it was a couple of seconds till we crossed the line and we took it easy for the first 100m or so before deciding it was too slow and overtaking a few people till it thinned out a little bit. I ended up running behind a girl wearing a “You don’t get views like this on a treadmill” T-Shirt, and she was right! Although I don’t think Hartstown Park is that picturesque. She was setting a good pace though, so I settled in for a bit using her as a target for the flats and uphills and then going past on the downhills as gravity assisted me.

In general, Hartstown is a flat course. There are a few drags but nothing that could really be classed as a hill. But the drags are where Is struggle and see my average pace start to go the wrong way.

I hit the 1km mark in 4:59 and was feeling quite good so decided that I would try for a SB. Currently it was 25:46 so roughly 5:08 per km. In my head that meant I already had 9s ‘in the bank’. 2km was up in 5:00 so I was consistent. I had been checking my HR and was comfortable – ie not close to Max HR. Kilometre 3 is the only one with a slight net downhill, and usually the fastest. When the time flashed up on my watch as 4:56 I knew I was in with a chance of beating 25:00. The 4th km is usually where I struggle. There’s a slight drag and I’m usually at my max heart rate trying to maintain the pace. This time I eased off a little and got onto the shoulder of a runner who had just overtaken me and used him to pace me to the top. He then kicked on but I’d got to the highest point of the course without losing too much time – 5:01 for km no. 4. The last km is the easiest as you know you’ve nearly finished. I got overtaken by a couple of people but still ran a pace of 4:57 final km to get an SB of 24:45. I know the mins per km don’t tally with the final time but that’s because GPS measured the course short (it measured it long last week).

I know it’s a long report for a Parkrun but I’m happy to have got back under 25:00 minutes. I did Parkrun back in January in 27:13. 2 weeks ago I was all out hitting 26:06. For me, it’s a marker of how fit I am. I really think it’s down to Ger’s indoor interval sessions on a Wednesday night along with the long, slow runs on a Friday. It also means the 22:30 target is a little bit closer and a little more realistic (to those who doubt!). Next week is meant to be another testing week for me so I should be aiming for an SB again.

Later that evening I went to the gym. Was nice and quiet and am starting to move up towards the weights I was lifting previously.


Club training day. Up at 8:15 and then a mad rush to get ready to meet Ivan and head down to Lough Lene in Westmeath. The plan was for a long enough swim, but I was freezing so rushed through explaining about sighting, drafting and swimming around buoys. Then got out early whilst the rest of the club swam another 2-300m.

I’ve no file for this as I forgot to set my watch.
The cycle was an easy spin through Fore then onto Castle Pollard and Collinstown. A Loop around the lake really. I got a bit more of a workout than expected as I was showing people the turns to take, then once the last riders passed, trying to get back towards the front. 18km done.

Run was an out and back to Fore. Did this at an easy pace and chatted with Ellen the whole way round.


Discipline Swim Bike Run Strength Total
Planned Time 1:25 5:54 3:49 3:00 12:08
Actual Time 0:25 4:42 4:05 2:00 11:12

If I was a school teacher marking this week I think I would be commenting – “Could do better”. It wasn’t the worse week I will have, and I still got in 11 hours of training, but I missed too many sessions.

I’m not going to beat my self up about missed training yet though. Plans are made, and plans are broken, life happens.  I’ve still 20 weeks to go, but the hard work needs to start soon.

There is nothing wrong with making plans even if they need to change. But things usually work best when a plan is made, and a plan is adhered to. The trick is in creating a plan that you can stick to. If that means morning session never happen because you like to lie in – then don’t plan early session.

Week 2 will see me look at my day to day nutrition and see how I can improve it in order to make the weight loss I want to, whilst still having the energy to train.


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